Schalke coach David Wagner (l.) was delighted with Weston McKennie's (r.) efforts for the USA at the 2019 Gold Cup. - © imago
Schalke coach David Wagner (l.) was delighted with Weston McKennie's (r.) efforts for the USA at the 2019 Gold Cup. - © imago

"Weston McKennie played a great Gold Cup" - Schalke coach David Wagner

Schalke head coach David Wagner says Weston McKennie deserves a hard-earned break after helping the USA reach the final of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

McKennie started five of the USA's six matches, only missing the third group game against Panama, with the Stars and Stripes already through to the knockouts.

The 20-year-old scored two and set up a further two goals, and even captained his country in their 1-0 defeat to Mexico in the final.

He will spend the next couple of weeks recuperating, before linking up with his new boss at Schalke's pre-season training camp in Austria on 26 July.

"It's important for Weston to catch his breath, recover and then look forward to the new season," Wagner - himself a former US international - told German sports magazine, kicker.

"He has to remember he played a good tournament. He was a danger in front of goal, and had the honour of captaining the team in the final."

McKennie was the driving force behind the US's run to the Gold Cup final, starring in knockout games against Curacao and Jamaica. - 2019 Getty Images

McKennie, who won the Gold Cup's Fair Play Award, now has nine senior US caps to go with his 56 competitive appearances at club level since joining Schalke from the FC Dallas academy in August 2016.

The 2019/20 campaign represents the American's third full season of Bundesliga football, while Wagner will be the fourth head coach he has played under as part of the Schalke first team, after Markus Weinzierl, Domenico Tedesco and Huub Stevens.

"I'm looking to working with David Wagner," McKennie told local media outlet, Ruhr 24, prior to the Gold Cup. "It'll be nice to have an American by my side.

"Danny Williams played under him at Huddersfield and told me he's a typical German coach: he likes hard work, pressing, that kind of thing. "It'll be good for me."

Watch: Weston McKennie scored his first Bundesliga goal last season

Schalke begin the new season away to minnows Drochtersen/ Assel in the DFB Cup first round (10 August), before travelling to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Bundesliga Matchday 1 (17 August).

The Royal Blues finished 14th last term, only securing their top-flight status with two rounds of fixtures to go.